I have to admit, animated movies have never been for me. Even as a child, I can’t recall being particularly fond of them or them being much of my childhood. Recently, I’ve been watching more animated movies and have found a new appreciation for them as an adult. Disney’s Zootropolis (Zootopia in the US) was released this year to rave reviews, so I decided to give it a watch.
This movie really surprised me. I think children can definitely enjoy the cutesy animals and bright, fun animation involved in this film, but the overwhelming themes of racism, diversity and equality really stood out and will not go unnoticed by adults. The film tells the story of Judy Hopps, who wants to be the first bunny police officer in Zootropolis. This career path, she is told by her parents and school children, is not a career path for a bunny. Despite their warnings, Judy follows her dreams anyway and excels. Not only is this a great message for kids, this message can apply to us all in our lives. The film portrays racism and inequality through the fox Nick Wild, who, along with other predators, are stereotyped as dangerous and untrustworthy. Judy’s open-minded, inclusive nature leads to a budding friendship between the two, and what you ultimately are left with is a buddy cop movie for children.
Zootropolis is smart. It knows how to drop these subtleties that can apply to our human lives without trying to bash you over the head with messages. But it’s a film that children and adults alike should watch, especially in our culture nowadays where these themes are so important. The voice work, which I think is often overlooked in animation, should be recognised here, particularly from the films leads Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman. Voice work in general is never quite given the praise it deserves, in fact I think it should be given its own category at awards ceremonies, as there are so many outstanding actors working in this field who are unappreciated.
This movie is enjoyable, intelligent and beautifully animated and deserves all the recognition come awards season.